After an incredible final round by Phil Mickelson at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the PGA Tour moves on to the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in greater Los Angeles. The players gathering at Riviera for the Northern Trust Open probably represent the strongest PGA Tour field thus far in 2012. There are four of the top 10 golfers in the world scheduled to compete in the tournament which begins on February 16, 2012. Several players that have already won a tournament on the PGA Tour this year, such as Mark Wilson and Brandt Snedeker, are also entered at Riviera. The course itself, which ranked number 10 in difficulty on tour in 2011, will be the toughest layout that the players have faced thus far in 2012. Will Phil Mickelson build on his triumph at Pebble Beach? Will Kyle Stanley keep his momentum going from his previous two tournaments? Here are my top five players to watch at the Northern Trust Open.
Phil Mickelson is a two-time champion at the Northern Trust Open and he is coming off a terrific weekend at Pebble Beach. Mickelson expressed doubts about his game prior to his conquest at Pebble Beach but I think that his victory there will propel Mickelson to a good season even by his own standards.
Kyle Stanley has performed brilliantly in the last two tournaments which he has entered. If not for a collapse on the final hole at the Farmers Insurance Open, Stanley would have won consecutive tournaments already in 2012. I expect him to play well at Riviera and possibly contend.
Aaron Baddeley is the defending champion of this tournament. Baddeley also played well at Pebble Beach finishing in fourth place.
The world's top-ranked golfer will make his first U.S. start of the 2012 season at the Northern Trust Open. While he missed the cut in 2011, Donald played outstanding golf for the remainder of the season.
Dwight is an avid golfer. While still relatively new to the game, he plays as often as the weather and his schedule will allow.
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